“JESUS invented the Big Society 2,000 years ago. I just want to see more of it.” So said David Cameron to senior religious figures at an Easter reception at Downing Street this week (sparking “fury” according to the Mirror). Any modern parallels conveniently cast the Prime Minister as the Son of God, presumably another wrongly persecuted figure who’s merely trying to spread His word to non-believers. So Cameron probably needs to tweak certain bits like his attitude towards the moneylenders, not-very-peaceful view of Damascus, and willingness to help the infirm and disabled, as well as perhaps being a little more forgoing of life’s luxuries, but hey, it’s a work in progress. Perhaps he could help stifle some of the doubters’ guffawing by allowing them to string him up a week or so from now. That’d show them Dave! And if you need anyone to carry your cross there’ll be no shortages of volunteers.
MARIA Miller’s proved almost as toxic an associate for Cameron as Mary Magdalene of late. We’ve oft heard the argument advanced that more females are needed in politics, high finance and big business to dilute the pervading destructive macho culture, but does the reality match up? Miller’s tale includes her (female) special adviser improperly threatening a (female) journalist, the latter apparently slyly – but rightly – recording the call, and then a (female) minister improperly threatening a (female) Commissioner. Not much solidarity amongst the sisterhood there, and so much for these examples of the fairer sex guaranteeing a consensual softer touch: they’re seem just as good at being sly and bullying as any menfolk. The problem’s surely not one of gender but of mentality. As Groucho Marx might’ve put it, “Anyone wanting to go into politics should be automatically barred.”
SUNDAY – the Sunday Times reports: ‘Tory women ministers are said to be keen to take Maria Miller’s place. “Even the Conservative sisterhood are not that bothered if she goes because they reckon Cameron has a quota and they’d like a slot freed up,” said one male Tory MP.’ Monday – pushy non-cabinet minister Esther McVey breaks ranks to criticise Miller and make it plain she would have handled things differently. Tuesday – briefings to the Liverpool Echo result in the headline: “Esther McVey could step into Culture Secretary role after Maria Miller’s resignation.” Wednesday – McVey is overlooked as Sajid Javid is appointed as the new Culture Secretary. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to howl with laughter.
THERE was a historic date this week for Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, as the former IRA commander had an appointment at Windsor Castle for a state banquet hosted by the Queen. The momentous occasion was such that Norman Tebbit – whose wife was paralysed by an IRA bomb in 1984 – made public his desire to see McGuinness shot by any dissident republicans outraged at their former comrade standing for the British national anthem. As if to display his newly found softer view towards life taken too soon, earlier in the day McGuinness had tweeted, “The loss of Peaches Geldof is very sad for her family & friends – very sorry for them, so tragic”. Even if Tebbit hasn’t, time has clearly moved on.
HOME Secretary, Theresa May, and Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Nichols, penned a joint article in the Telegraph railing against the scourge of modern day slavery. “[It] damages not only the individuals whose lives are crushed by it. It violates human dignity and diminishes us all.” Apparently, “The Government’s Modern Slavery Bill, the first of its kind in Europe, will strengthen the punishment of offenders and the protection of victims.” Hmm. Our dictionary defines slavery thus: “the subjection of a person to another person, esp. in being forced into work … work done in harsh conditions for low pay”. Presumably this would include Theresa May’s own government’s ‘Work Programme’ compelling unemployed jobseekers into working 14-hour unpaid shifts as stewards during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee then? Physicians, heal thyself!